School of Education Program Focuses on Students with Disabilities
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education is currently hosting a program in partnership with the West Irondequoit School District that brings 10 high school students to campus every day, along with their teachers, where they do their regular classroom work. They are good students, working a little bit harder than their peers, as they are living with a variety of disabilities.
The West Irondequoit Post-Secondary Program here at Fisher offers these students access to all of the services Fisher students have access to. They use the library to study, complete assignments, and do research. They enjoy the meals at the dining facilities. And they even work out in the fitness center. These students also have a chance to join some of the College’s clubs and organizations and interact with Fisher students.
The program is funded by the West Irondequoit School District, and the College provides the classroom space and opportunity to access the services. According to Dr. Whitney Rapp, Associate Dean, School of Education and program liaison, it’s a really beneficial program for Fisher students because it makes them think differently about what it means to be a successful young adult and diversifies their experiences.
"As a society, we are reframing what it means to be a competent, able, contributing member of a community, including a college campus community," said Dr. Whitney Rapp, associate dean, School of Education. “It is time to think about disabilities as different abilities, not inabilities."
Some of the students shared their experiences from the program:
“We went to the YMCA, Wegmans, PCC (Project Community Convergence), and other places for field trips while we are not taking advantage of activities on campus. When we were at the Heart Walk and the PCC, I felt proud. I felt proud because I understand that the things I did there helped people.” - Mike
“The program has helped me realize advocating for myself is easier than I thought. My job at the St. John Fisher library allowed me to ask my boss if I could have more responsibilities.” - Holly
“This program has allowed me to learn how to ask for what I need in the right way. I used to get picked on a lot and that made me angry, so now I’m working on not being so angry and ask for needs in an appropriate way. Being a part of the program is helping me do this.” – Emery
“In my class we learn what independent living skills are and how we can strengthen them. The class really helps because it makes it so much easier for when you do have a place of your own. In high school I didn’t think much of my life after it, but when I came into this class, it showed me that there’s a lot in life and that you make your future.” – John
Some of the program's participants helped Students With A Vision with the Full Circle Wrapping Project.